Professionalism is a difficult construct to define in medical students but aspects of this concept may be important in predicting the risk of postgraduate misconduct. For this reason attempts are being made to evaluate medical students' professionalism. This study investigated the psychometric properties of Selected Response Questions (SRQs) relating to the theme of professional conduct and ethics comparing them with two sets of control items: those testing pure knowledge of anatomy, and; items evaluating the ability to integrate and apply knowledge ("skills"). The performance of students on the SRQs was also compared with two external measures estimating aspects of professionalism in students; peer ratings of professionalism and their Conscientiousness Index, an objective measure of behaviours at medical school.
Item Response Theory (IRT) was used to analyse both question and student performance for SRQs relating to knowledge of professionalism, pure anatomy and skills. The relative difficulties, discrimination and 'guessabilities' of each theme of question were compared with each other using Analysis of Variance (ANOVA). Student performance on each topic was compared with the measures of conscientiousness and professionalism using parametric and non-parametric tests as appropriate. A post-hoc analysis of power for the IRT modelling was conducted using a Monte Carlo simulation.
Professionalism items were less difficult compared to the anatomy and skills SRQs, poorer at discriminating between candidates and more erratically answered when compared to anatomy questions. Moreover professionalism item performance was uncorrelated with the standardised Conscientiousness Index scores (rho = 0.009, p = 0.90). In contrast there were modest but significant correlations between standardised Conscientiousness Index scores and performance at anatomy items (rho = 0.20, p = 0.006) though not skills (rho = .11, p = .1). Likewise, students with high peer ratings for professionalism had superior performance on anatomy SRQs but not professionalism themed questions. A trend of borderline significance (p = .07) was observed for performance on skills SRQs and professionalism nomination status.
SRQs related to professionalism are likely to have relatively poor psychometric properties and lack associations with other constructs associated with undergraduate professional behaviour. The findings suggest that such questions should not be included in undergraduate examinations and may raise issues with the introduction of Situational Judgement Tests into Foundation Years selection.
Measuring professionalism in undergraduate medical students is a difficult process, and no one method has currently emerged as the definitive means of assessment in this field. Student skills in reflection have been shown to be highly important in the development of professional behaviours. By studying student reflections on lapses in professional judgement, recorded as 'critical incidents', it is possible to explore themes which are significant for the development of professional behaviour in an undergraduate setting.
We examined critical incident reporting combined with optional written student reflection as a method for exploring professionalism in undergraduate medical students. 228 students split between Year 1 and 2 of one academic year of undergraduate medicine were studied retrospectively and a grounded theory approach to analysis was employed.
This year generated 16 critical incident reports and corresponding student reflections, all of which were considered. In addition to identifying the nature of the critical incidents, 3 principal themes emerged. These were the impact and consequences of the report having been made, student reactions to the events (both positive and negative), and student responses regarding future actions.
This study indicates that unprofessional behaviour can be identified and challenged by both the faculty and the students involved, and suggests that positive behavioural changes might be made with the aim of preventing future occurrences. We provide a low cost approach of measuring and recording professional behaviour.
Despite recommendations that complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) familiarization should be offered to UK medical students, in Wales little such teaching was offered. We decided to assess medical students’ knowledge of CAMs, perceived training needs in CAMs, their view of its role in the National Health Service (NHS) and current teaching given. Analysis of data from a questionnaire given to medical students and direct questioning of senior academic medical school staff in Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools was carried out. The participants comprised 78 first year medical students in the undergraduate entry program in Cardiff and 58 first year medical students from the graduate entry program in Swansea. Senior academic medical school staff at Cardiff and Swansea Medical Schools were asked about current CAM teaching. Results revealed that 32% of undergraduate entry students (UGES) had previous knowledge of CAMs compared with 51% of graduate entry students (GES). Of the UGES, 62% believed they should be taught about CAM's compared with 94% of GES. Of UGES 31% felt that CAMs have a role in the NHS compared with 50% of GES. None of the students had received teaching about CAMs and little formal CAM teaching is currently included in the curricula at each site. The majority of medical students in Wales would like to receive CAM teaching and significant numbers support a role for CAMs in the NHS. Little formal teaching is currently provided.
CAM teaching; medical students; integrated healthcare
Although professionalism has emerged as a key competency for today’s physicians, there exists little insight into how best to teach medical students the relevant skills or instill in them the commitment required to practice according to the highest professional standards. Ten UCSF medical students were interviewed at three time points (second, third, and fourth years of school). Interviews focused on students’ learning and development regarding end-of-life care (EOLC). Students described varying steps in their professional development from their second to fourth years of school, including feeling confused about the definition of professionalism and integrating their personal and professional identities. In addition to professional development, four other themes contributed to the development of medical student understanding of how to provide EOLC as a professional: (1) curricular discordance, (2) role models, (3) the tightrope between trained versus human reactions, and (4) ethical dilemmas. These five themes represent dilemmas that students often learned how to respond to over the course of school. Professional development in EOLC required the acquisition of skills necessary to balance the tension between and navigate conflicting messages present in medical student training.
Professionalism; Medical practice; End-of-life care; Professional development
Anecdotal evidence shows that unprofessional conduct is becoming a common occurrence amongst health workers in Uganda. The development of appropriate professional values, attitudes and behaviors is a continuum that starts when a student joins a health professional training institution and as such health professionals in training need to be exposed to the essence of professionalism. We sought to explore undergraduate health professions students' perceptions and experiences of learning professionalism as a preliminary step in addressing the problem of unprofessional conduct amongst health workers in Uganda.
Eight focus group discussions were conducted with 49 first to fifth year health professions undergraduate students of the 2008/2009 academic year at Makerere University College of Health Sciences. The focus group discussions were recorded and transcribed, and were analyzed using content analysis with emergent coding.
The difference in the way first and fifth year students of Makerere University College of Health Sciences conceptualized professionalism was suggestive of the decline in attitude that occurs during medical education. The formal curriculum was described as being inadequate while the hidden and informal curricula were found to play a critical role in learning professionalism. Students identified role models as being essential to the development of professionalism and emphasized the need for appropriate role modeling. In our setting, resource constraints present an important, additional challenge to learning universal standards of health professionalism. Furthermore, students described practices that reflect the cultural concept of communalism, which conflicts with the universally accepted standard of individual medical confidentiality. The students questioned the universal applicability of internationally accepted standards of professionalism.
The findings call for a review of the formal professionalism curriculum at Makerere University College of Health Sciences to make it more comprehensive and to meet the needs expressed by the students. Role models need capacity building in professionalism as health professionals and as educators. In our setting, resource constraints present an additional challenge to learning universal standards of health professionalism. There is need for further research and discourse on education in health professionalism in the Sub-Saharan context of resource constraints and cultural challenges.
Objectives To train laywomen to become professional patients in order to teach medical students speculum and bimanual examination, to assess their effectiveness in this role, and to incorporate this method of teaching into the undergraduate curriculum of a medical school in the United Kingdom.
Design Comparative study.
Setting Guy's, King's, and St Thomas's School of Medicine, London.
Participants 44 medical students trained by gynaecology teaching associates; 48 control students.
Main outcome measure Skills in pelvic examination.
Results Six laywomen were recruited and all successfully graduated to become gynaecology teaching associates. At assessment 1, in the third week of the reproductive and sexual health block, the mean score achieved by students trained by gynaecology teaching associates was 155, compared with 104 for control group students (difference in mean scores 51 (95% confidence interval 41 to 61), P < 0.001). Similar results were obtained at assessment 2, at the end of the attachment—the mean score for trained students was 148, compared with a mean score of 114 for control group students (difference in mean scores 34 (21 to 46), P < 0.001).
Conclusions Laywomen can be trained to teach pelvic examination to medical students in the United Kingdom. Students who receive this training have better skills than students who receive the traditional training alone.
Objective To study medical students' views about the quality of the teaching they receive during their undergraduate training, especially in terms of the hidden curriculum.
Design Semistructured interviews with individual students.
Setting One medical school in the United Kingdom.
Participants 36 undergraduate medical students, across all stages of their training, selected by random and quota sampling, stratified by sex and ethnicity, with the whole medical school population as a sampling frame.
Main outcome measures Medical students' experiences and perceptions of the quality of teaching received during their undergraduate training.
Results Students reported many examples of positive role models and effective, approachable teachers, with valued characteristics perceived according to traditional gendered stereotypes. They also described a hierarchical and competitive atmosphere in the medical school, in which haphazard instruction and teaching by humiliation occur, especially during the clinical training years.
Conclusions Following on from the recent reforms of the manifest curriculum, the hidden curriculum now needs attention to produce the necessary fundamental changes in the culture of undergraduate medical education.
To compare the power of three traditional selection procedures (A levels, personal statements, and references) and one non-traditional selection procedure (personality) to predict performance over the five years of a medical degree.
Cohort study over five years.
Nottingham medical school.
Entrants in 1995.
Main outcome measures
A level grades, amounts of information contained in teacher's reference and the student's personal statement, and personality scores examined in relation to 18 different assessments.
Information in the teacher's reference did not consistently predict performance. Information in the personal statement was predictive of clinical aspects of training, whereas A level grades primarily predicted preclinical performance. The personality domain of conscientiousness was consistently the best predictor across the course. A structural model indicated that conscientiousness was positively related to A level grades and preclinical performance but was negatively related to clinical grades.
A teacher's reference is of no practical use in predicting clinical performance of medical students, in contrast to the amount of information contained in the personal statement. Therefore, simple quantification of the personal statement should aid selection. Personality factors, in particular conscientiousness, need to be considered and integrated into selection procedures.
Medical television programs offer students fictional representations of their chosen career. This study aimed to discover undergraduate medical students' viewing of medical television programs and students' perceptions of professionalism, ethics, realism and role models in the programs. The purpose was to consider implications for teaching strategies.
A medical television survey was administered to 386 undergraduate medical students across Years 1 to 4 at a university in New South Wales, Australia. The survey collected data on demographics, year of course, viewing of medical television programs, perception of programs' realism, depiction of ethics, professionalism and role models.
The shows watched by most students were House, Scrubs, and Grey's Anatomy, and students nominated watching 30 different medical programs in total. There was no statistical association between year of enrolment and perceptions of accuracy. The majority of students reported that friends or family members had asked them for their opinion on an ethical or medical issue presented on a program, and that they discussed ethical and medical matters with their friends. Students had high recall of ethical topics portrayed on the shows, and most believed that medical programs generally portrayed ideals of professionalism well.
Medical programs offer considerable currency and relevance with students and may be useful in teaching strategies that engage students in ethical lessons about practising medicine.
Transformation of medical students to become medical professionals is a core competency required for physicians in the 21st century. Role modeling was traditionally the key method of transmitting this skill. Medical schools are developing medical curricula which are explicit in ensuring students develop the professional competency and understand the values and attributes of this role. The purpose of this study was to determine student perception of professionalism at the University of Ottawa and gain insights for improvement in promotion of professionalism in undergraduate medical education.
Survey on student perception of professionalism in general, the curriculum and learning environment at the University of Ottawa, and the perception of student behaviors, was developed by faculty and students and sent electronically to all University of Ottawa medical students. The survey included both quantitative items including an adapted Pritzker list and qualitative responses to eight open ended questions on professionalism at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. All analyses were performed using SAS version 9.1 (SAS Institute Inc. Cary, NC, USA). Chi-square and Fischer’s exact test (for cell count less than 5) were used to derive p-values for categorical variables by level of student learning.
The response rate was 45.6% (255 of 559 students) for all four years of the curriculum. 63% of the responses were from students in years 1 and 2 (preclerkship). Students identified role modeling as the single most important aspect of professionalism. The strongest curricular recommendations included faculty-led case scenario sessions, enhancing interprofessional interactions and the creation of special awards to staff and students to “celebrate” professionalism. Current evaluation systems were considered least effective. The importance of role modeling and information on how to report lapses and breaches was highlighted in the answers to the open ended questions.
Students identify the need for strong positive role models in their learning environment, and for effective evaluation of the professionalism of students and teachers. Medical school leaders must facilitate development of these components within the MD education and faculty development programs as well as in clinical milieus where student learning occurs.
Professionalism; Curriculum; Undergraduate medical education; Learning environment
Tobacco smoking issues in developing countries are usually taught non-systematically as and when the topic arose. The World Health Organisation and Global Health Professional Student Survey (GHPSS) have suggested introducing a separate integrated tobacco module into medical school curricula. Our aim was to assess medical students' tobacco smoking habits, their practices towards patients' smoking habits and attitude towards teaching about smoking in medical schools.
A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was carried out among final year undergraduate medical students in Malaysia, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. An anonymous, self-administered questionnaire included items on demographic information, students' current practices about patients' tobacco smoking habits, their perception towards tobacco education in medical schools on a five point Likert scale. Questions about tobacco smoking habits were adapted from GHPSS questionnaire. An 'ever smoker' was defined as one who had smoked during lifetime, even if had tried a few puffs once or twice. 'Current smoker' was defined as those who had smoked tobacco product on one or more days in the preceding month of the survey. Descriptive statistics were calculated.
Overall response rate was 81.6% (922/1130). Median age was 22 years while 50.7% were males and 48.2% were females. The overall prevalence of 'ever smokers' and 'current smokers' was 31.7% and 13.1% respectively. A majority (> 80%) of students asked the patients about their smoking habits during clinical postings/clerkships. Only a third of them did counselling, and assessed the patients' willingness to quit. Majority of the students agreed about doctors' role in tobacco control as being role models, competence in smoking cessation methods, counseling, and the need for training about tobacco cessation in medical schools. About 50% agreed that current curriculum teaches about tobacco smoking but not systematically and should be included as a separate module. Majority of the students indicated that topics about health effects, nicotine addiction and its treatment, counselling, prevention of relapse were important or very important in training about tobacco smoking.
Medical educators should consider revising medical curricula to improve training about tobacco smoking cessation in medical schools. Our results should be supported by surveys from other medical schools in developing countries of Asia.
BACKGROUND: The acquisition and nurturing of humanistic skills and attitudes constitute an important aim of medical education. In order to assess how conducive the physician-learning environment is to the acquisition of these skills, the authors determined the extent to which clinical teachers are perceived by their trainees as humanistic with patients and students, and they explored whether undergraduate and graduate students share the same perceptions. METHODS: A mail survey was conducted in 1994/95 of all senior clerks and second-year residents at Laval University, University of Montreal and University of Sherbrooke medical schools. Of 774 trainees, 259 senior clerks and 238 second-year residents returned the questionnaire, for an overall response rate of 64%. Students' perceptions of their teachers were measured on a 6-point Likert scale applied to statements about teachers' attitudes toward the patient (5 items) and toward the student (5 items). RESULTS: On average, only 46% of the senior clerks agreed that their teachers displayed the humanistic characteristics of interest. They were especially critical of their teachers' apparent lack of sensitivity, with as many as 3 out of 4 declaring that their teachers seemed to be unconcerned about how patients adapt psychologically to their illnesses (75% of clerks) and that their teachers did not try to understand students' difficulties (78%) or to support students who have difficulties (77%). Compared with the clerks, the second-year residents were significantly less critical, those with negative perceptions varying from 27% to 58%, 40% on average. Except for this difference, their pattern of responses from one item to another was similar. INTERPRETATION: This study suggests the existence of a substantial gap between what medical trainees are expected to learn and what they actually experience over the course of their training. Because such a gap could represent a significant barrier to the acquisition of important skills, more and urgent research is needed to understand better the factors influencing students' perceptions.
To implement a medication education project and assess the competencies students learned and implemented in professional practice after graduation.
Fourth-year pharmacy students planned, carried out, and reported on a real-life project during 1 study year. Outside experts and 2 faculty members facilitated the work. The aim of the medication education project was to create material that schoolteachers could use to teach children about rational use of medicines.
All students who had participated in the medication education program during its 3 years were contacted (n = 31). A questionnaire was sent to the 21 students who had graduated (18 responded), and a focus group was conducted with the 10 students completing their final year of pharmacy school (9 participants). The competencies that the students reported learning most were teamwork and social interaction skills. They considered the project motivating but also found it challenging and the deadlines frustrating.
Through participation in a medication education project, students learned interpersonal skills, time management, conflict resolution, and other skills that many of them already were finding valuable in their professional practice.
competencies; project-based learning; team; assessment; social science
To track and describe career choice decisions of medical students as they progressed through their undergraduate training.
Quantitative survey of each class at 5 points during their undergraduate experience. Each survey collected qualitative descriptors of students’ current career choices.
Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland in St John’s.
Undergraduate medical students in each year from 1999 to 2006.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES
Number of students considering family medicine as a career option at 5 different data-collection points throughout the medical school curriculum.
Many students considered family medicine as a career choice early in their undergraduate experience. The number of students considering family medicine dropped significantly during the second year of the curriculum. This trend was consistent across all students surveyed. Although interest in family medicine as a career rebounded later in the curriculum, it never fully recovered.
A large percentage of medical students considered family medicine as a career choice when they entered medical school. The percentage dropped significantly by the end of the second year of training. Attention should be directed toward understanding how the undergraduate medical curriculum in the first 2 years can protect and cultivate interest in family medicine as a career choice.
To change the culture of healthcare organisations and improve patient safety, new professionals need to be taught about adverse events and how to trap and mitigate against errors. A literature review did not reveal any patient safety courses in the core undergraduate medical curriculum. Therefore a new module was designed and piloted.
A 5‐h evidence‐based module on understanding error in healthcare was designed with a preliminary evaluation using self‐report questionnaires.
A UK medical school.
110 final year students.
Measurements and main results
Participants completed two questionnaires: the first questionnaire was designed to measure students' self‐ratings of knowledge, attitudes and behaviour in relation to patient safety and medical error, and was administered before and approximately 1 year after the module; the second formative questionnaire on the teaching process and how it could be improved was administered after completion of the module.
Before attending the module, the students reported they had little understanding of patient safety matters. One year later, only knowledge and the perceived personal control over safety had improved. The students rated the teaching process highly and found the module valuable. Longitudinal follow‐up is required to provide more information on the lasting impact of the module.
Since the early 1990s there has been a burgeoning interest in global health teaching in undergraduate medical curricula. In this article we trace the evolution of this teaching and present recommendations for how the discipline might develop in future years.
Undergraduate global health teaching has seen a marked growth over the past ten years, partly as a response to student demand and partly due to increasing globalization, cross-border movement of pathogens and international migration of health care workers. This teaching has many different strands and types in terms of topic focus, disciplinary background, the point in medical studies in which it is taught and whether it is compulsory or optional.
We carried out a survey of medical schools across the world in an effort to analyse their teaching of global health. Results indicate that this teaching is rising in prominence, particularly through global health elective/exchange programmes and increasing teaching of subjects such as globalization and health and international comparison of health systems. Our findings indicate that global health teaching is moving away from its previous focus on tropical medicine towards issues of more global relevance.
We suggest that there are three types of doctor who may wish to work in global health – the ‘globalised doctor’, ‘humanitarian doctor’ and ‘policy doctor’ – and that each of these three types will require different teaching in order to meet the required competencies. This teaching needs to be inserted into medical curricula in different ways, notably into core curricula, a special overseas doctor track, optional student selected components, elective programmes, optional intercalated degrees and postgraduate study.
We argue that teaching of global health in undergraduate medical curricula must respond to changing understandings of the term global health. In particular it must be taught from the perspective of more disciplines than just biomedicine, in order to reflect the social, political and economic causes of ill health. In this way global health can provide valuable training for all doctors, whether they choose to remain in their countries of origin or work abroad.
Global health; International health; Medical education; Undergraduate; Curriculum
Professionalism topics are usually not covered as a separate lesson within formal curriculum, but in subtler and less officially recognized educational activities, which makes them difficult to teach and assess. Interactive methods (e.g. movies) could be efficient teaching methods but are rarely studied. The aims of this study were: 1) to test the relevance and usefulness of movies in teaching professionalism to fourth year medical students and, 2) to assess the impact of this teaching method on students' attitudes towards some professionalism topics.
This was an education study with qualitative data analysis in a group of eleven fourth year medical students from the Medical School of University Maribor who attended an elective four month course on professionalism. There were 8 (66.7%) female students in the group. The mean age of the students was 21.9 ± 0.9 years. The authors used students' written reports and oral presentations as the basis for qualitative analysis using thematic codes.
Students recognised the following dimensions in the movie: communication, empathy, doctors' personal interests and palliative care. It also made them think about their attitudes towards life, death and dying.
The controlled environment of movies successfully enables students to explore their values, beliefs, and attitudes towards features of professionalism without feeling that their personal integrity had been threatened. Interactive teaching methods could become an indispensible aid in teaching professionalism to new generations.
Objectives: This study aimed to determine attitudinal and self reported behavioural variations between medical students in different years to scenarios involving academic misconduct.
Design: A cross-sectional study where students were given an anonymous questionnaire that asked about their attitudes to 14 scenarios describing a fictitious student engaging in acts of academic misconduct and asked them to report their own potential behaviour.
Setting: Dundee Medical School.
Participants: Undergraduate medical students from all five years of the course.
Method: Questionnaire survey.
Main measurements: Differences in medical students' attitudes to the 14 scenarios and their reported potential behaviour with regards to the scenarios in each of the years.
Results: For most of the scenarios there was no significant difference in the response between the years. Significant differences in the responses were found for some of the scenarios across the years, where a larger proportion of year one students regarded the scenario as wrong and would not engage in the behaviour, compared to other years. These scenarios included forging signatures, resubmitting work already completed for another part of the course, and falsifying patient information.
Conclusion: Observed differences between the years for some scenarios may reflect a change in students' attitudes and behaviour as they progress though the course. The results may be influenced by the educational experience of the students, both in terms of the learning environment and assessment methods used. These differences may draw attention to the potential but unintentional pressures placed on medical students to engage in academic misconduct. The importance of developing strategies to engender appropriate attitudes and behaviours at the undergraduate level must be recognised.
The learning environment of a medical school has a significant impact on students' achievements and learning outcomes. The importance of equitable learning environments across programme sites is implicit in distributed undergraduate medical programmes being developed and implemented.
To study the learning environment and its equity across two classes and three geographically separate sites of a distributed medical programme at the University of British Columbia Medical School that commenced in 2004.
The validated Dundee Ready Educational Environment Survey was sent to all students in their 2nd and 3rd year (classes graduating in 2009 and 2008) of the programme. The domains of the learning environment surveyed were: students' perceptions of learning, students' perceptions of teachers, students' academic self-perceptions, students' perceptions of the atmosphere, and students' social self-perceptions. Mean scores, frequency distribution of responses, and inter- and intrasite differences were calculated.
The perception of the global learning environment at all sites was more positive than negative. It was characterised by a strongly positive perception of teachers. The work load and emphasis on factual learning were perceived negatively. Intersite differences within domains of the learning environment were more evident in the pioneer class (2008) of the programme. Intersite differences consistent across classes were largely related to on-site support for students.
Shared strengths and weaknesses in the learning environment at UBC sites were evident in areas that were managed by the parent institution, such as the attributes of shared faculty and curriculum. A greater divergence in the perception of the learning environment was found in domains dependent on local arrangements and social factors that are less amenable to central regulation. This study underlines the need for ongoing comparative evaluation of the learning environment at the distributed sites and interaction between leaders of these sites.
distributed programme; satellite sites; learning environment; technology enabled learning; evaluation
Suggestions for improvement of the educational program in the first two years of the medical curriculum are made in the light of simultaneous experiences as teacher and student. The learning needs of the student should be given more consideration. Many of the present learning-teaching problems could be solved by closer communication and collaboration between instructors teaching the same students coupled to an official recognition of the value of good teaching. In spite of a multiplicity of courses and basic science departments, the student is a single person with a rather limited goal. He is required to learn and remember a vast amount of detailed factual information during his first two years of the medical curriculum. The medical student should be reinstated as an integral human component of the structure and functioning of each department. This is a difficult task because the dual functions of research in a specialized discipline and undergraduate medical teaching frequently pull an individual's or department's activities in opposite directions and lead to administrative problems.
Assessment is a powerful driver of student learning: it gives a message to learners about what they should be learning, what the learning organisation believes to be important, and how they should go about learning. Assessment tools allow measurement of student achievement and thereby give teachers insight into their students' learning, and enable teachers to make systematic judgements about progress and achievement. It is vital then that assessment tools drive students to learn the right things as well as measure student learning appropriately. Any attempts to reform curricula and teaching methods must consider the role of assessment in the learning process.
Libyan doctors and medical students have been calling for changes to teaching and assessment methods at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. A team from the Academic Centre for Medical Education at University College, London have been running workshops in conjunction with the Libyan Board of Medical Specialties since 2006 to discuss strategic aims of assessment in medical education in Libya for the 21st century and to deliver an assessment skills course to Libyan educators. This article outlines the course and the outcomes of preliminary discussions between academics from the UK, participants in the assessment courses and representatives from the Libyan Board of Medical Specialties. As a result of these discussions it was agreed by all that Libyan Medical School assessment methods need updating and, despite significant challenges, changes in assessment must be made as soon as possible. There is a real need for support in both addressing these changes and for practical training for assessors in contemporary assessment methods.
Education; Medical; Educational measurement; Libya
Research training is essential in a modern undergraduate medical curriculum. Our evaluation aimed to (a) gauge students' awareness of research activities, (b) compare students' perceptions of their transferable and research-specific skills competencies, (c) determine students' motivation for research and (d) obtain students' personal views on doing research.
Undergraduate medical students (N=317) completed a research skills questionnaire developed by the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Applied Undergraduate Research Skills (CETL-AURS) at Reading University. The questionnaire assessed students' transferable skills, research-specific skills (e.g., study design, data collection and data analysis), research experience and attitude and motivation towards doing research.
The majority of students are motivated to pursue research. Graduate entrants and male students appear to be the most confident regarding their research skills competencies. Although all students recognise the role of research in medical practice, many are unaware of the medical research activities or successes within their university. Of those who report no interest in a career incorporating research, a common perception was that researchers are isolated from patients and clinical practice.
Students have a narrow definition of research and what it entails. An explanation for why research competence does not align more closely with research motivation is derived from students' lack of understanding of the concept of translational research, as well as a lack of awareness of the research activity being undertaken by their teachers and mentors. We plan to address this with specific research awareness initiatives.
undergraduate; research skills; translational research; training; scholarly activity programmes
OBJECTIVE: To assess whether students admitted to medical school after completing 2 years of undergraduate study performed as well as those admitted after longer periods of undergraduate study in terms of broad patient-care skills measured at the time of graduation. DESIGN: Retrospective study. SETTING: University of Alberta, Edmonton. PARTICIPANTS: Graduates of the classes of 1990 and 1991, of the 226 graduates 133 had entered medical school after 2 years of undergraduate training, 39 after 3 years and 54 after 4 or more years. Eight students had been excluded because they were either transfer students or international students. OUTCOME MEASURES: Objective and subjective assessments of the main clinical rotations (internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, psychiatry, radiology and surgery), results of the faculty's final comprehensive examination and of the Medical Council of Canada's Qualifying Examination. RESULTS: The students who had completed 2 years of undergraduate study before medical school were significantly younger than those who had completed 3 years and those who had completed 4 or more years (mean age [and standard deviation (SD)] 20.5 [2.1], 21.5 [2.4] and 25.1 [4.4] years respectively, p < 0.001). They also had a significantly higher mean grade point average (GPA) for the prerequisite courses for admission to medical school than those with 3 years and those with 4 or more years of undergraduate study (8.26 [SD 0.3], 7.95 [SD 0.3] and 7.80 [SD 0.5] respectively, p < 0.001). The overall mean GPA for the best 2 years of undergraduate study did not differ significantly between the three groups. The students with 2 years of undergraduate study had a significantly lower mean score for the pre-entry interview than those who had 4 or more years of undergraduate study (32.1 [SD 7.6] v. 38.3 [SD 8.5], p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between the three groups in the results of any of the subjective or objective outcome measures. CONCLUSION: Students who completed 2 years of undergraduate study before admission to medical school were able to achieve a satisfactory level of competency and maturity by the end of medical school. The 2-year option for entrance into medical school should be reconsidered.
This essay describes how the use of a concept inventory has enhanced professional development and curriculum reform efforts of a faculty teaching community. The Host Pathogen Interactions (HPI) teaching team is composed of research and teaching faculty with expertise in HPI who share the goal of improving the learning experience of students in nine linked undergraduate microbiology courses. To support evidence-based curriculum reform, we administered our HPI Concept Inventory as a pre- and postsurvey to approximately 400 students each year since 2006. The resulting data include student scores as well as their open-ended explanations for distractor choices. The data have enabled us to address curriculum reform goals of 1) reconciling student learning with our expectations, 2) correlating student learning with background variables, 3) understanding student learning across institutions, 4) measuring the effect of teaching techniques on student learning, and 5) demonstrating how our courses collectively form a learning progression. The analysis of the concept inventory data has anchored and deepened the team's discussions of student learning. Reading and discussing students' responses revealed the gap between our understanding and the students' understanding. We provide evidence to support the concept inventory as a tool for assessing student understanding of HPI concepts and faculty development.
To predict student performance in an introductory graduate-level biomedical informatics course from application data.
A predictive model built through retrospective review of student records using hierarchical binary logistic regression with half of the sample held back for cross-validation. The model was also validated against student data from a similar course at a second institution.
Earning an A grade (Mastery) or a C grade (Failure) in an introductory informatics course.
The authors analyzed 129 student records at the University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences at Houston (SHIS) and 106 at Oregon Health and Science University Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology (DMICE). In the SHIS cross-validation sample, the Graduate Record Exam verbal score (GRE-V) correctly predicted Mastery in 69.4%. Undergraduate grade point average (UGPA) and underrepresented minority status (URMS) predicted 81.6% of Failures. At DMICE, GRE-V, UGPA, and prior graduate degree significantly correlated with Mastery. Only GRE-V was a significant independent predictor of Mastery at both institutions. There were too few URMS students and Failures at DMICE to analyze. Course Mastery strongly predicted program performance defined as final cumulative GPA at SHIS (n = 19, r = 0.634, r 2 = 0.40, p = 0.0036) and DMICE (n = 106, r = 0.603, r 2 = 0.36, p < 0.001).
The authors identified predictors of performance in an introductory informatics course including GRE-V, UGPA and URMS. Course performance was a very strong predictor of overall program performance. Findings may be useful for selecting students for admission and identifying students at risk for Failure as early as possible.